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Gramophone Magazine Reviews: The Well-Tempered Clavier by Kimiko Ishizaka

on Sun, 05/24/2015 - 18:17

The June 2015 issue of Gramophone Magazine features an interview with Kimiko Ishizaka, and a review of her March 2015 release of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. Apparently it is only available to readers in the USA and Canada. Why Gramophone made this decision is anyone's guess; perhaps because the label, Navona Recordings, is located in the USA?

The interview goes straight for the juicy details, such as Kimiko's history as a competitive athlete, the fact that the album was backed financially by over 1,000 fans, and that she practises in the complete darkness.

The review, however, focuses on the music. Let me share some of the quotes:

Ishizaka plays the 24 preludes and fugues with impeccable taste and technique, finding many levels of musical meaning even as she brings utmost clarity to the multiplicity of textures.
She scales her Bach to the rhythmic, structural and sonic needs of the music, without touching the sustaining pedal. Her articulation runs the sensitive gamut from cushioned to bitingly crisp.
It is the fugues where Ishizaka goes furthers in demonstrating how intimate she has become with Bach. Each line has a transparent place in the scheme of unfolding things, and the pianist seems to take enormous pleasure in weaving together all of the miraculous strands.
Ishizaka plays these compact monuments with intense and shapely finesse. Playing in darkness has led her to illuminating views of Bach.

You can read the whole interview and review online.